'Homeless' governor hops from lodge to lodge

21 July 2020 | Local News

JEMIMA BEUKES

WINDHOEK



Newly appointed Hardap governor Reverend Salomon April has been moving from lodge to lodge as he waits for the works ministry to renovate the official governor's residence in Mariental.

April was appointed by President Hage Geingob on 7 April, replacing Esme Isaak.

Acting control works inspector Filemon Namene told Namibian Sun that they sent a cost estimate of about N$500 000 to the ministry of urban and rural development for the renovation of the house.

He added this was done at the beginning of April, and that they are still waiting for feedback.



Standard renovation

“This is just a standard renovation, nothing sinister. The house is old and was last renovated around 2009. We need to keep it in good condition. It will take another 10 or 15 years for us to renovate it again. The person who is coming in now has his or her idea on how they want the house,” he said.

Works ministry spokesperson Julius Ngweda said it is unfortunate that internal processes are often slow, but added that renovations are expected to start soon.

“We have some companies on annual tender so we will be appointing a company soon. The internal process is a bit slow as it has to go through so many offices,” he said.



Chalets and guesthouses

April, who hails from Gibeon but lived in Windhoek prior to his appointment, confirmed to Namibian Sun that he has not yet moved into the official governor's residence and is currently staying at the River Chalets at the town.

According to him, the delay is a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has slowed down operations.

“It is common practice when someone moves out of a house, then the house needs to be renovated for the next occupant to occupy it. I have not yet been to the house myself. All I know is that they were waiting for the money to be released and then as soon as that is happening, they will start with renovations,” he said.

He added that it was his decision to move into local lodges, and added that he is paying for the interim accommodation from his own pocket.



Luxury rooms

Namibian Sun established that the governor stayed at Anandi Guesthouse for more than a month and recently moved to River Chalets.

“Who told you all these things? Why didn't you get the rest of the information from those people?” he asked.

Anandi Guesthouse charges N$725 per night for a luxury room including breakfast, while River Chalets charges N$500 a night for the self-catering double chalet April currently occupies.

When contacted for comment, urban and rural development ministry spokesperson Etuna Shikalepo said she would response today.



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